Cleaning up our county
One of four of the company's waste locations across the South West, the Moreton Valence centre, after millions of pounds of investment, stands as an impressive operation to visitors, customers and workers.
Taking a tour of the Materials Recycling Facility, with operations depot manager Ian Watson, I was given great insight into an extraordinary system, that sieves, sorts and picks through waste in fine-tooth comb fashion.
Moreton Valance welcomes a stream of vehicles each day and is a symbol of Smiths (Gloucester) Ltd's commitment to waste and recycling in the region.
The company has invested heavily in its regional waste management division over the past few years and has shown its commitment to recycling in Gloucestershire by developing this waste transfer station, located south of Gloucester, and by opening a dedicated office in Tewkesbury.
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On a day-to-day basis, every vehicle that enters and exits the station has to be weighed using the company's weighbridge, to give staff an on-going record as to how much waste is dropped off.
Once it is dumped, as much as possible is diverted from landfill, using specialist equipment and technology including magnets, suction units and shifters.
The site, which the company hopes to expand over four acres of green land behind it, is popular with big companies as well as councils in the county and Smiths has a contract with Stroud District Council.
Weekly percentages, of what is in each load, are calculated and the company then feeds back to its customers on the contents and quantity of the waste dropped. This reflects on the price a client is charged.
If the driver does not describe the waste correctly, photos are taken and a customer can be charged an additional amount. The registration number of each vehicle that enters the premises is also recorded.
Jet engines, thought to be from Kemble and a Smiths excavator arm, are among rarer items that have been dumped at the site.
Heavier and recyclable parts are picked out from general waste and non-recyclable items are taken to landfill, although this amounts to less than 25 per cent of waste that arrives at the site. Smiths has reduced its contribution to landfill by 20 per cent since 2001.
Concrete is pulverised at the site, wood is shredded and metal items pass through metal sheers.
The majority of items travel, on rollers, on an awe-inspiring conveyor belt, where they are separated and put into piles.
This is manned by staff who supervise the process. On our tour, Ian told me that a 1,000Kba generator runs everything on site. With no problems, and little backlog, waste tipped can travel through the conveyor and be separated in around half an hour.
A small team cleans up everything that is thrown off the conveyor and cannot be recycled. At the end of production, a clean-up takes place ready for the following day.
Plastics, cans and other items including aluminium and copper cables, bathroom taps, pipes and fridges are stored in a special recycling unit on site. Confidential shredding also takes place before all paper is put into bales and placed on the loading ramp ready to be transported off the premises.
The station is inspected annually by Gloucestershire Constabulary.